Jamaica has made progress towards acceptance and support of the LGBT community in banning an American pastor from visiting the country to spread his anti-LGBT message
Jamaica has made progress towards acceptance and support of the LGBT community in banning an American pastor from visiting the country to spread his anti-LGBT message.
Steven Anderson, a pastor from the Faithful World Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, was prevented from boarding a flight to Kingston and informed he would not be allowed into the Caribbean country.
Activist Jay John launched an online petition calling on the Jamaican government to ban Anderson after the University of the West Indies invited Anderson to speak on campus.
The petition gained more than 39,000 signatures and the university rescinded its invitation.
Canada, South Africa, the UK and Botswana have all previously denied Anderson entry.
On this latest ban, Anderson suggested the decision was the result of pressure from other countries such as the US and UK.
Anderson has called for gay people to be stoned to death, prayed for the death of former US President Barack Obama, and celebrated the mass shooting at gay nightclub Pulse in July 2016.
He has also denied the Holocaust and insisted a woman’s place is in the home raising children rather than at work.
Violence and discrimination against gay people remains pervasive in Jamaica, but the ban is being seen as representative of a shift in attitudes in the country, which has gained a reputation for its homophobic attitudes.
The country’s first public gay pride event in August 2015 was a major step in symbolising changing behaviour towards LGBT people and issues, and Anderson’s ban has been heralded as a further win for Jamaican sovereignty, constitutional protections and the safety of its people.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of National Security said: “The decision was made by the chief immigration officer because the pastor’s statements are not conducive to the current climate.”
Activist Jay John said: “I am glad that leadership was shown in protecting LGBTQ Jamaicans, women and other minority groups which Steven Anderson has attacked over the past.”
Read More: The Peter Tatchell Foundation, a campaign group for human rights, presented proposals to the Commonwealth Secretariat to put LGBT+ equality on the agenda of the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April 2018